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Regione Emilia-Romagna

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Memoria e Ricerca

Left and Right in Greece from the 20th into the 21st century

di Nikos Marantzidis, Rori Lamprini
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 41 (2012), p. 69

The article explores the evolution of left/right division in Greece, drawing upon macro sociological theories regarding social and political cleavages. It analyses the major historical divisions that have given meaning to the left/right dichotomy and have structured Greek party system over a century. Among a series of wars, civil quarrels, economical and political crises, which have taken place throughout the Twentieth century, two civil conflicts have marked political rivalries and configured political identities: the National Schism (1915-1917) and the Civil War (1943-1949). They have established a three-camp party system, which had endured until the 1967-1974 military dictatorship. The democratization of the country and the liberalization of political institutions in the post-junta era gave birth to new coalitions and political formations, which established a two-party system on the basis of right/anti-right dichotomy. The outbreak of economic crisis in 2010 and the austerity measures that came as a consequence have divided society and politics in two camps: the advocates and opponents of the Memorandum. The political stances regarding the management of the crisis has magnified the significance of pro/anti-memorandum cleavage and, thus, weakened the importance of the left/right division. Key words: National Schism, Military dictatorship, Civil War, Cleavage, Demo­cratization, European memorandum